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Suppose I create rocket boots and brand them as "Super Jumpers". After a couple months of selling them, I stealthily create a new brand of rocket boots called "Mega Fliers".

I do not publicly reveal them as created by the same person or corporation, and perhaps I even market them with improvements I intentionally left out of the original boots.

Would this alone be illegal, or only under certain conditions? For example, if I had a monopoly on rocket boots, if I was inflating prices, or if using other consumer manipulation to make them purchase more of both.

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    One could argue that this is done today with auto marques. Kia and Hyundai are the same company. Chevrolet and Cadillac - both GM. – Columbia says Reinstate Monica Feb 7 '18 at 1:32
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    "Store brand" or "private label" products are another example - in many cases, the same identical product, from the same factory, is sold under many different brands. Nothing illegal about this as far as I know. – Nate Eldredge Feb 7 '18 at 4:02
  • Monopoly laws are about share of the market, not about owning two brands. – Pere Feb 7 '18 at 18:37
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    Just a thought, what do you mean by "making the public aware"? Would they have to print "this brand belongs to LittleCorp, a wholly owned subsidiary of BigCorp" onto the packaging? Put it into official letterheads? Acknowledge it to anybody who thinks to ask them? Active deception is one thing, failure to point it out is something different. – o.m. Feb 7 '18 at 18:39
  • @RobertColumbia Not the same thing. Those examples are where the companies in question did make the public aware they are the same company. – Matt Feb 10 '18 at 22:36
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You mean like Unilever, and countless others do?

Yes.

Many, many companies control a stable of brands, often of competing products. This is particularly prevalent in grocery lines (cleaning, food, beauty products) and motor vehicles (there are dozens of brands of motor vehicle but only a handful of automotive companies). Clearly, these products have different features (improvements) – you are entitled to segment your market anyway you like.

If they are actually produced by the same company, keeping that secret would be virtually impossible. If they were separate companies (even with licencing agreements etc.), well, they are not the same company even if they have common ownership.

As for having a monopoly: if you hold a patent you are allowed to have a monopoly, if you don't, expect to see knock-off rocket boots on the shelf in a week.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – feetwet Feb 10 '18 at 15:57

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